I’ve had a fondness for the FAL and L1A1 rifles for many years, even before I carried one in Rhodesia, (now Zimbabwe) back in 1976. Even before that, I still remember the first FAL I ever saw. It was a select-fire version, hanging on the wall of my local gun shop outside of Chicago. I asked to handle it, and it was love at first sight and touch. There’s just “something” about this style of rifle that calls out to me – and thousands (or millions) of other gun owners, and for good reason, they are time-tested battle rifle, that at one time, served in approximately 90 militaries around the world, and it is still serving – a testament to the design and the .308 Win (7.62 NATO) round – when you want to reach out there and touch someone – the .308 can get the job done.
There are a few scope mounts out there for the FAL (generic term) of rifles these days, and I’ve tried a few – albeit, they are very expensive and a bit bulky and heavy. I like saving a few bucks whenever I can. B&T Enterprises produces a very lightweight and very affordable set-up for your FAL if you want to mount a scope or red/green dot scope on your rifle, without adding a lot of weight.
Brian, at B&T Enterprises, sent me an FAL top cover, with a light-weight aluminum scope mount attached to it. My first thought was, “this looks a little flimsy…” and as is often the case, first impressions are not always the right ones. I have a Century Arms “FrankenFAL” – meaning, it isn’t quite an FAL nor is it an L1A1, either – it has parts from both designs, one being metric, and one inch pattern. Many parts will interchange between the inch and metric guns, and Century Arms did a good job on my sample – however, they have had some bad guns get out there, that didn’t work. The good news is, Century stands behind their products and will make it right if you have a defective gun. Only thing is, Century doesn’t run many batches of these guns, they aren’t exactly easy to assemble and make work. So, when they do a run, they usually sell out very fast – be advised. You can find these guns on Gun Broker and Guns America, if you take the time to search their web sites.
My biggest complaint with the FAL is that, the rear sight isn’t the most stable – no matter what you do, many of them will have some play in them – and that is NOT a good thing, especially if you are looking at any long-range shots. What might be ok at a hundred yards, won’t work at 600-yards if that rear sight isn’t tight and it is moving around on you. So, a lot of folks want to mount a magnifying scope or a red/green dot scope of some sort on their FALs. Well, now you can do it, and do it for a lot less money, too.
B&T has several options for you. You can send them your FAL top cover, if it fits tightly on your FAL, and have them attach their mount to your cover. Or, you can request one of their covers with their mount attached, and fit it to you own rifle. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem, it doesn’t take much to fit a top cover so there isn’t any play in them. The sample B&T sent me, with their mount already
attached, fit my FAL tightly – perfect!
I had a couple cheap red/green dot scopes around, and I tried them on the top cover with the mount attached, and they all fit nicely – no problems at all. I also tried a 3×9 scope on the top cover, and it, too, fit nicely – no movement of the top cover when it was installed on the rifle. I don’t know that I would install a great big scope on the top cover with the mount, though. Seems like the red/green dot scopes or a light-weight magnifying scope would work best.
When I went out to the range to test the mount, I had one of the red/green dot scopes installed, and I had a good supply of Black Hills Ammunition .308 168-grain Match ammo, along with their .308 Hornady A-Max 168-grain load – which is for hunting purposes, and it is also match-grade in my book. From Buffalo Bore Ammunition I had their Sniper load which is a 175-grain JHP bullet, that is really screaming out of the barrel of your rifle. In all my testing, I fired about 100 rounds of ammo, through my FAL, with the red/green dot scope, and a cheap 3X9 scope. I removed the FALs top cover several times and replaced it, and there wasn’t any noticeable change in my zero – I was shooting at 100-yards. B&T Enterprises shows on their web site a video of similar testing and there wasn’t much change in the zero. This is a good thing!
Additionally, my German Shepherds knocked my FAL over at least a dozen times while the gun was sitting in a corner in my office, and the aluminum mount on the top cover didn’t come loose. I was impressed! B&T has the aluminum mount, attached to the steel top cover with some sort of adhesive, and as I said as the start, I was a bit concerned that, this mount might work itself loose under recoil. While I know that firing 100 rounds through my FAL isn’t a real torture test, I believe my German Shepherds gave it a good work out by knocking the gun onto the floor numerous times, and the scope that was mounted on the top cover never caused the mount to come loose in the least. In B&T’s own testing they said the mount should stay attached to the top cover from -40 temps up to 190-dgrees – and I see no reason to doubt this claim.
The mount only weighs 1.2 ounces, so you aren’t adding any appreciable weight to the FAL…and most red/green dot scopes don’t weight all that much, either. It’s when you add a magnifying scope, is where the added weight comes in. I think I would just leave a red/green dot scope on the mount myself. And, one nice thing is, if you want to take the dot scope off, you don’t have to actually take it off the top cover. (You can still see through the iron sights.) If it were me, I’d purchase another top cover – they are usually under ten bucks. Then take your top cover off, with the mount and scope attached, and put on your spare top cover – only takes a few seconds to do so, and you don’t have to worry about re-zeroing your optic.
I like saving money whenever I can, I’m not rich, not by any stretch of the imagination, and when I can save money, and find a quality product, that will do all I ask it to do, for less money than a more expensive product, I’m going to jump on it. If you send B&T your FAL top cover–one that fits tightly–they can install their aluminum mount for $69.99 and return it to you – plus shipping. And, if you want one of their mounts with a top cover that they supply, contact them for full information on prices – it depends on what type of FAL you have, as to what it will cost you. But I believe the most you’ll be paying is under $90 for their top cover with the mount installed.
The B&T Enterprises brings the FAL and it’s clones into the 21st Century with a top cover with a mount on there, especially if you want to add a red/green dot scope, and they are providing a top quality product, at a great price, too. A lot of work and testing went into this mount – and it isn’t as easy as you may think, to come up with the mount and a way of attaching it to the top cover. Check out their web site for complete information before ordering. I think that you’ll be impressed with the light-weight set-up for your FAL. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio
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